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photo of Cuyahoga River
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Fifty years ago, the Cuyahoga River caught on fire. It wasn’t the first time this had happened. And it really didn’t become a big deal nationally until more than a month later when Time magazine ran an article on the fire.

Fifty years later, the river has rebounded. Watershed is a series from WKSU News looking at our waterways and what the future holds for them. In our opening story, we take a look at the current state of “the burning river.”

an overhead view of the location of the park
GOOGLE MAPS

The Akron Parks Challenge announced the winners of this year’s grants. One of them will help fund a new playground at Park East, which is located between downtown Akron and Summit Lake.

The proposal came from developer Alpha Phi Alpha Homes. Executive Director Thomas Fuller said the there’s been very little attention paid to the park in the last 30 years.

A photo of two surgeons
Cleveland Clinic

Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic performed Ohio’s first successful in-utero surgery.

Surgeons operated on a fetus diagnosed with spina bifida, a defect that affects the development of the spine which can lead to brain damage.

Dr. Darrell Cass led the surgical team. He has performed more than 100 fetal surgeries at other hospitals.

photo of FreshMark plant
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

One year ago, immigration agents raided a Salem meat processing facility and arrested more than 140 undocumented immigrants. In this installment of “OH Really,” a listener asks for an update.

Debbie Toder from West Akron said she felt terrible when she heard about the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raids at the FreshMark facility.

Cal sports

Update: The Cavs selected Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland with the 5th pick in Thursday night's NBA draft. Garland’s freshman season ended with a knee injury last November. The team then selected Belmont swingman Dylan Windler at No. 26. They then made some moves to get USC guard Kevin Porter Jr. The Cavs' young team now includes two new 19-year-olds and a 22-year-old.

The team has assembled a new coaching staff in the offseason that has no pro experience but an eye for young talent. They followed the hiring of Michigan’s John Beilein as head coach by bringing in University of California women’s coach Lindsay Gottlieb as an assistant. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says it was a very unconventional move. 

a video illustration of the new train car
CUYAHOGA VALLEY SCENIC RAILROAD / YOUTUBE

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is creating a new space for young riders. The Edu-trainment is currently being renovated to create an educational and entertaining space for children.

The new car is part of a master plan with the goal of enhancing the railroad.

Bobby Dinkins is the Vice President of Marketing and Development for the railroad. He says the goal for the train is to let kids have fun while getting to learn about the national park.

Historic Oberlin College Building
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

The attorney who represented an Oberlin merchant in a successful lawsuit against Oberlin College expects the school to fight a $44 million dollar jury award. 

Lee Plakas sued the college on behalf of the Gibson family, which owns Gibson’s Bakery

a photo of a FirstEnergy substation
SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

State lawmakers have been debating a change to Ohio’s energy policy that could save two nuclear plants. Both are owned by First Energy Solutions, once a subsidiary of First Energy. But First Energy has shed the entity and become a fully-regulated utility, which sparked a listener’s curiosity. She sent in a question to our OH Really? team.

a photo of Indians prospect Daniel Espino
MLB.COM/TWITTER

Major League Baseball is relatively low-key when it comes to selecting its next superstars. The draft that happens each June gets little attention compared to the fanfare of the NFL and NBA. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says the Indians had a top-25 pick last week, but hardly anyone noticed. 

1873 guide map of Ohio
UNITED STATES DIGITAL MAP LIBRARY

David Giffels is on a journey to understand America, and for the Akron-based writer, that starts in Ohio.  He’s traveling around the state, working on a new book in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election. 

Sesame Street, the award-winning children's program turns 50 this year. As the iconic TV program has aged, it has managed to stay musically apace with its forever-young audience. It's not an easy task, but it's one that the show's creators prioritize for the sake of children's education. While Big Bird, Elmo & co.

Jeannine, who is 37 and lives in Burbank, Calif., has endured widespread pain since she was 8. She has been examined by dozens of doctors, but none of their X-rays, MRIs or other tests have turned up any evidence of physical injury or damage.

Photo of Bret Davis
NICK EVANS / WOSU

Farmers in Ohio and many other parts of the country are rushing to get their crops planted after a long, wet spring. The late start means many acres intended for corn won’t get planted, and farmers are running far behind on soy beans as well. WOSU's Nick Evans visited a few farms throughout Central Ohio to see how farmers are trying to get back on track.

The last time I visited Bret Davis’ farm in Delaware County, I was asking him about a program helping farmers bit by the trade war.  It was raining then, and it was wet when I spoke to him this week, too.

a photo of newlyweds
HOPE MOORE / CREATIVE COMMONS

Couples in the Akron-area can have a June wedding or vow renewal for free in a local park. Summit County Probate Court will be hosting a group outdoor wedding on June 28th at Goodyear Heights Metro Park. Summit County Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer will be overseeing the event called Promises in the Park.

A photo of Wooster baseball coach Tim Pettorini
/ THE COLLEGE OF WOOSTER

The baseball coach at The College of Wooster is retiring after nearly 40 years. Tim Pettorini leaves as the fifth-winningest coach in Division III history, guiding his teams to the NCAA tournament more than two dozen times. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says Pettorini’s legacy is remarkable.

A photo of the University of Akron Driver's License clinic
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Ohio suspended the driver’s licenses of more than 1 million people, many of whom can’t afford to get those licenses back. But that doesn’t mean they’re not on the road. So until July 31, the state is offering a limited amnesty. On paper, it looks like Ohio is forgiving $500 million dollars in reinstatement penalties. But, advocates see it as a crucial investment in people, jobs and community.  

A photo of Andrew Bridges
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Over the last seven years, Ohio’s been slowly changing a set of laws that many believe keeps people from getting jobs, paying child support, even volunteering in their community. In the first of two stories on Ohio’s official second chances, we examine how some of these changes are playing out.

JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

WKSU asked listeners for ideas for what to explore in the next episode of our Exploradio science series.

We had some great suggestions. When the ideas were put to a vote, the top choice was –

“Is enough being done to find a cure for type-1 diabetes…?”

In this week’s Exploradio, we try to find the answer.

Around 1.25 million Americans have type-1, or insulin dependent diabetes.

Rich Janus is one of them.

A photo of Brecksville Dam
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on May 2, 2019.

One of the last remaining dams on the Cuyahoga River will soon be coming down.

The Brecksville dam was built in 1952 to divert water to operations of what is now Charter Steel in Cleveland.

Elaine Marsh, president of the Friends of the Crooked River, announced this week that Kokosing Industrial has been hired to remove the dam.

poeple floating the river in in rubber tubes
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

The removal of dams along the Cuyahoga River has had benefits apart from improving water quality. Now, water recreation is providing new business opportunities from Kent to Cuyahoga Falls.

Over Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of brightly colored inflatable tubes joined kayakers and canoers on the river. The tubers were customers of Float the River, the area’s newest form of water recreation, launched by local entrepreneurs T.J. Mack and Savannah Snyder.

photo of Matthew Wilson
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Matt Wilson officially marks his last day on the job as a member of the University of Akron (UA) faculty on May 31.  Wilson, the former president of the university, is leaving to take the job of president at Missouri Western State University.  We sat down with Wilson to talk about his unexpected turn as UA's president following the short and troubled tenure of Scott Scarborough. 

Akron Beacon Journal Among GateHouse Media Newspapers to See Staff Cuts

May 26, 2019
photo of Akron Beacon Journal
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Two managers were laid off at the Akron Beacon Journal Friday, bringing the total of newsroom cuts to nine over the past two days. It's the latest blow to a print industry battling digital competition.

The Beacon Journal is one of 156 daily newspapers and more than 300 weeklies owned by New York-based GateHouse Media.

Medical marijuana flowers at AT-CPC of Ohio in North Akron.
MARK AREHART / WKSU

Medical marijuana is showing results for children suffering from painful ailments, according to a doctor at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Sarah Friebert is one of two doctors at Children’s licensed to recommend medical marijuana. New products have become available in Ohio that are safe to recommend to children.

Cavs.com

The Cavs officially introduced John Beilein from the University of Michigan as their coach on Tuesday. His main goal will be to help develop this young team following next month’s draft. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says all of the teams competing for an NBA title this year have done it by developing players. And that must be the Cavs new model, too.

A photo of FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

The future of Ohio’s two nuclear plants remains up in the air as a bailout package, House Bill 6, works its way through the state legislature. The package would throw a lifeline to bankrupt FirstEnergy Solutions. Its former parent company, FirstEnergy hosted shareholders at its annual meeting in Akron Tuesday. Protesters were there too.  

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